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Over 70pc Rabies vaccine not available: MoPH

Over 70pc Rabies vaccine not available: MoPH

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19 Jan 2024 - 09:16
Over 70pc Rabies vaccine not available: MoPH
author avatar
19 Jan 2024 - 09:16

KABUL (Pajhwok): Dog bite incidents have increased by 14 percent in the first six months of the ongoing solar year comparing to the same period of the last year, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday.

This comes at a time when the MoPH is faced with 70 percent shortage of Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) vaccine.

The MoPH in a report said 15,906 dog bite incidents in the centre and provinces registered in the first six months of the ongoing solar year.

Most of these incidents had happened in capital Kabul, four victims of dog bit incidents had been lost.

This comes that last year during first six months around 12,000 incidents had registered.

According to the officials in the past two years the incidents related to dog bite had increased nationwide while the vaccine provided for this purpose by the World Health Organisation (WHO) was not sufficient.

Is Rabies disease dangerous?

Dr. Fakhruddin Stanikzai, head of the Zoonosis Diseases section at the MoPH, said Rabies disease was one of the viral diseases and zoonosis that caused acute brain inflammation, this virus can cause disease in all warm-blooded animals, including humans.

 The virus enters a person’s body from the saliva of an animal suffering from this disease, through the bite site, goes to the muscles towards the central nerves and starts growing.

​He said Initial symptoms of rabies include generic signs like fever, pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensations at the wound site. As the virus moves to the central nervous system, progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops.

Finally the patient start fear from light, water and wind and within less than 10 days the person dies.

14 percent surge in dog bite incidents

According to the information of the MoPH in the first six months of ongoing year 15,906 dog bite incidents happened while last year 12,000 dog bite incidents happened during the same period last year.

This year’s facts and figures included 2,337 children, 2980 women and the remaining men.

According to the MOPH, last year 33,089 dog bite incident registered nationwide, 18 victims of these incident had lost their lives.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) report said that Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease which existed in over 150 countries and caused the death of thousands of people mainly in Asia and Africa, 40 percent victims of this virus are children under the age of 15.

Maximum incidents occurred in Kabul

According to Stanikzai, most numbers of dog bite incident recoreded in Kabul which are 5,207, in the second number is Herat province with 1,453 incidents, Nangarhar 960 while Logar and Jawzjan recorded the lest number of cases with 30 dog bite incidents each.

He said four persons have died from the dog bite incidents in the first six months of ongoing year. Two people died in Kabul, one in Baghlan and one in Paktia.

Over 70pc required vaccine not available

Dr. Stanikzai said earlier, the MoPH had a separate budget to deal with dog bite incidents.

“Currently, there is no budget therefore we asked WHO and other organization for support and they are doing some help,” he said.

He said this year WHO purchased 16,000 Rabies vaccines which were distributed in the province but generally there is need for around 54 vaccines nationwide.

 Mohammad Farid Wasiq, a vaccinator at Antani Hospital, said daily 100 dog bit incidents are registered in this hospital in which 35 are new incidents while the remaining are the follow ups of the old incidents who refer to the hospital for treatment.

He said most patients here arrived from Kabul province and a small number referred here from provinces.

“There are enough vaccines in this hospital, we give 4 doses of vaccines, and if someone has a severe wound, we give hemoglobin serum, and we also give one dose of tetanus vaccine,” he said.

Awareness programs about rabies must surge

Zoonosis diseases control officer at the Ministry of Public Health said a joint committee of the ministries of public health, agriculture, education, higher education and the National Environmental Protection Authority had been established to spread awareness regarding various disease, especially rabies among the people.

Stanikzai said: “About communicable diseases, especially rabies, people should be informed through mosques, media, etc. so they protect themselves from dogs. This way dog bite incidents will decrease.”

Doctor’s recommendations

Dr. Stanikzai advises: “When a dog, fox, or bat bites someone, they should immediately wash the bitten area with clean water and soap for 15 to 20 minutes, and then go to the nearest health center to get the vaccine.”

Also, Dr. Adel Neromand, trainer at Antani hospital in Kabul, advised: “In case of being bitten by a suspicious animal, especially a stray dog, the wound should be washed immediately with clean water and soap and the person should be transferred to a health center as soon as possible”.

According to him, rabbi is deadly and the infected person is not transferred to a health center before the appearance of symptoms, the virus will enter the nervous system and cause death”.

He said there were two types of anti-rabies vaccine and a bitten person must take five stages of the vaccine to remain safe.

He says if stray dogs are eliminated, pets vaccinated and children kept away from animals and butchers stopped throwing meat in the trash and people did not dump rotten food on streets, this disease can be prevented to a large extent.

People satisfied with services at dog bite department

Mohammad, 15, who went to Antani hospital in Kabul city to get anti-rabies vaccine, said they have a dog in their house.

He added: “This is the second time I was bitten by a dog. I came to the doctor. It is my second time to be vaccinated. Two days ago, I was bitten by a stray dog.”

Meanwhile, Shakila, a woman who brought her 13-year-old son to Antani Hospital to administer him a dog bite vaccine, said: “I was not at home. My child was eating bread when the dog of the owner of our house came in and bit my child’s hand.”

She appreciated services being provided to dog bite patients in Antani hospital and said that the services were free of charge.

Ahmad Shah, a resident of Maidan Wardak province, said that about two months ago, five of his family’s children while playing in the alley near their home were attacked by a stray dog and all the children were injured.

He added: “Alhamdulillah, we transferred the children to a health centre in Maidan Shahr, the doctors provided services and administered vaccines to them.”

People want to get rid of stray dogs

Sorush, a resident of Kotal-i-Khairkhana in Kabul, said although the number of stray dogs in the city had decreased thanks to the Kabul municipality, they were yet to completely collected.

According to him, in the area where he lives stray dogs are seen mostly at night and sometimes during day, posing a serious threat to local residents.

He urged the Kabul municipality to collect these dogs from all areas of Kabul city.

Meanwhile, Sher Ali, a resident of Butkhak area of Kabul, held similar complaint and said: “The presence of stray dogs in our area is annoying, when children go to school we fear they will be attacked by stray dogs.”

According to him, a month ago, the municipality collected all dogs, but still dogs could be seen in streets, a source of concern for local residents.

He added: “I ask the government to collect all these dogs from different areas of Kabul city.”

The response of officials

Niamatullah Barakzai, a representative of Kabul municipality, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they had specific programs for stray dogs. Since the beginning of this year, 12,000 such dogs were vaccinated and more than 10,000 others sterilized.

According to him, the municipality has a plan to eliminate dogs that are proven stray or rabid when their treatment is impossible.

“If it is reported that dogs in an area are violent, they will be collected. For now, Kabul Municipality’s main focus is to control the population of stray dogs,” he added.


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